Monday, May 23, 2016

"a day in the life of an aluminum worker...."??

At one point in time our industry (as well as every other metals industry) did not acknowledge the importance of personal protection equipment (PPE). Including but not limited to fire resistant clothing, ear plugs, hard hats, etc. Overtime our industry learned the importance of proper ppe. We would be remiss if we did not state that long ago the available ppe was limited to say the least. Only through fabric manufacturers, clothing companies and industry cooperation did our industry come to the point today where a worker can be protected against molten metal burns.

We have had honor to visit lots and lots of aluminum plants around the world. We cannot think of a single plant that we have toured where workers dealing with molten metal were not wearing some sort of molten metal protection. The type and quality of molten metal protection varied, but every worker we have seen (in dozens of countries) wore some type of molten metal protection.

With that said the photo above was found recently with the tag line “a day in the life of an aluminum worker”. The Aluminium Plant Safety Blog prays that the worker’s injuries heal overtime.

The individual who posted the photo shall remain nameless as well as the aluminium company that the individual works for out of respect for both parties. So when we saw that photo and read where the individual worked we were surprised to say the least. We have toured the worker’s place of employment in the past and know firsthand the importance that management and the employees place upon safety. We have viewed workers in that plant wearing the proper ppe. Regardless, the worker states that he got burned by molten metal on the job. We may be reading too much into this worker’s text, but the photo forced us to post this story. On our tours some individual workers have shown us their burns on occasion. These workers would tell us about the “old days” and talk about their scars. We hope and we pray that this worker who was burned in this photo will never be injured in our industry again. We hope that the worker told his supervisor of his injury immediately. Sadly we have posted numerous incidents where for some unknown reason workers fail to notify their employer of an injury and only after the injury worsens (through infection) are they notified.

We implore every worker (no matter the industry) to notify their supervisor immediately if they are injured at their workplace. The employer then should determine the root cause of the incident and take the necessary precautions to prevent recurrence.

As with every post the editors of the APSB will not forget the photo of this incident. We’ll be sure to look for this worker the next time we tour his plant. We’ll make sure to bring up that incidents like this are nothing to be proud of. Incidents like this should be a cause of concern, not a post on social media.

We hope that the reader too does not forget this photo. If you job function involves molten metal we urge you to follow your training, do not skip steps, and never make assumptions. In addition always wear your PPE. If your PPE is old and needs to be replaced please see your supervisor immediately.

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